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Pizza & Politics


Pizza & Politics are the Dole Institute’s students-only, slice-of-life, free lunch discussions with professionals. P&Ps unite KU students with professional experts from around the country for a candid lunchtime conversation. These informal events invite guest speakers to share their insights on a particular topic and take questions from students. P&Ps occur on the KU campus from 12:00-1:30, approximately 4 times per semester. Free pizza and soda are provided to KU students.


“Who Will Give President Trump a Run for His Money — Analyzing the 2020 Democratic Candidates ”
Friday, September 20th, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Jayhawk Room, 5th Floor Kansas Memorial Union
Guest: Steven Jacques, former White House staffer and senior official at the U.S. State Department, Commerce Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“A Look Inside the Kansas Supreme Court”
Friday, November 1st, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Centennial Room, 1st Floor Kansas Memorial Union
Guest: Frances Gorman Graves and Terrence Campbell, Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission members.

“Modern Warfare: Public and Private Cyber Security Threats” 
Friday, November 15th, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Alderson Auditorium, 4th Floor Kansas Memorial Union
Guest: Andrea Peterson, former technology policy reporter for the Washington Post.


“Incarcerating the Innocent: Wrongful Convictions and the Systems Behind Them ”
Friday, February 1st, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Jayhawk Room, 1st Floor Kansas Memorial Union
Guests: Laquanda “Faye” Jacobs, the only female inmate in Arkansas sentenced as a juvenile to life in prison without parole, since pardoned, Tricia Bushnell, Executive Director of the Midwest Innocence Project, Alice Craig, KU Law attorney in the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies.

“Art and Public Service ”
Friday, March 8th, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Jayhawk Room, 1st Floor Kansas Memorial Union
Guests: Alisa Morse, community-oriented filmmaker, photographer, educator and multi-media enthusiast, John Knell, photographer, collage artist, illustrator and graphic designer, John Sebelius, local artist.

“Women’s Impact on the 2018 and 2020 Election”
Friday, March 22nd, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Bruckmiller Room, Adams Alumni Center
Guests: Mary Banwart, Professor of Communications, Teri Finneman, Professor of Journalism, Christina Bejarno, Professor of Political Science.

“Future of Education in Kansas”
Friday, April 26th, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Centennial Room, 5th Floor Kansas Memorial Union
Guests: Representative Stephanie Clayton, 19th District Kansas House of Representatives, Tonya Merrigan, Blue Valley Superintendent, Kristin Wright, Clay Center School, Community, and Family Connections Counselor.


“The Power of the Millennial Vote”
Friday, September 28th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Alderson Auditorium, 4th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Representative Tom Cox,  Kansas House Representative, Dr. Barbara Ballard, Associate Director as the Dole Institute of Politics, Kansas House Representative and House Minority Caucus Chair.

“Who Should Be the Next Governor: Debate”
Friday, October 26th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Kansas Room, 6th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: KU Young Democrats and KU College Republicans

“Militarization of the Police Force”
Friday, November 16th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Kansas Room, 6th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Doug Bonney, civil liberties attorney for the ACLU of Kansas, Chief John Douglass, former police chief of the Overland Park Police Department now Shawnee Mission School District as executive director of emergency management, and Captain Michael Cross is an officer in the Topeka Police Department.

“How to Disagree in the Age of Polarization”
Friday, November 30th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Kansas Room, 6th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Dr. Diana Carlin, in addition to being a published author, she served on the advisory board for the U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates and as the DebateWatch national director.


“Never Too Young, Part 2”
Friday, January 19th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Big 12 Room, 5th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Eryn Ebach, Deputy Finance Director for Paul Davis for Kansas, Austin Gilpin, Director of Operations for the Kansas Republican Party, Brett Parker, Kansas State Representative, and Victoria Snitsar, Director of Communications for the Kansas Federation of College Republicans

Friday, February 16th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Jayhawk Room, 1st Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Jennifer Brockman, Director of the KU Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Center, Rachel-Gadd Nelson, Director of Community Engagement for the Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center, and Corey Rayburn Yung, KU Law professor

“Student Senate Showdown”
Friday, March 16, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Alderson Auditorium, 4th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Crimson and Blue, Jayhawkers, and Rise KU

“Jail and Mental Health Expansion Ballot Initiative”
Thursday, April 19th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Alderson Auditorium, 4th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Nicole Rials, Urgent Care Director at the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Ben MacConnell, Lead Organizer for Justice Matters, Patrick Wilber, Treasurer for Sunset Alliance, and Mike Brouwer, Reentry Director for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office


“Emergency Preparedness”
Friday, September, 29th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
2420, LEEP2
Guests: Andrew Foster, Emergency Management Specialist for the KU Office of Public Safety, Ariel Cohen, Science and Operations Officer for the National Weather Service in Topeka, and Mark Kitchens, Regional Preparedness Liaison in the FEMA Region 7

“Never Too Young”
Friday, October 27th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Malott Room, 6th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Kelly Arnold, Chair of the Kansas Republican Party, Lee Modesitt, Former Campaign Manager for Lynn Jenkins for Congress, Cheyenne Davis, Field and Political Director for the Kansas Democratic Party, and Ashley Quenneville, Finance Director for Andrea Ramsey for Congress

“The Local Politics of Lawrence”
Friday, November 17th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Malott Room, 6th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Mike Amyx, Lawrence City Commissioner and six-time Mayor, Jennifer Ananda, newly-elected City Commissioner, and Jamie Shew, Douglas County Clerk.


“The Economics of Going Green and the Role of Government”
Friday, February 3rd, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Kansas Room, 6th Floor Kansas Union
Guest: Ashok Gupta, Senior Energy Economist at the Natural Resources Defense Council

“A Conversation with Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt”
Friday, February 17th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Malott Room, 6th Floor Kansas Union
Guest: Derek Schmidt, Attorney General for Kansas

“Senate Showdown”
Friday, March 31st, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Jay Room, 1st Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Onward, OneKU, TrueKU, KUnited

“Law and Order in Lawrence”
Friday, April 28th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Centennial Room, 5th Floor Kansas Union
Guest: Tarik Khatib, Chief of Lawrence Police Department


“Becoming an American Citizen”
Thursday, September 22nd, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Centennial Room, 5th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: John Lungstrum, Senior Judge for the U.S. District Court of Kansas, Dr. Cecila Menjívar, Foundation Distinguished Professor, and Andrea Gomez Cervantes, KU graduate student and recent naturalized citizen

“Supreme Court Justice Selection”
Friday, October 28th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Centennial Room, 5th Floor Kansas Union
Guest: Jennifer Schmidt, Director of the Public Policy Clinic at KU Law

“Presidential Debate”
Friday, November 4th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
English Room, 6th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: KU College Republicans and Jayhawks for Hillary


“Prove Your Vote”
Thursday, February 18th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Jay Room, 1st Floor Kansas Union
Guest: Mark Johnson, KU Law professor

“Meet the Candidates”
Friday, March 25th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Malott Room, 6th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Stephonn Alcorn, Student Body President candidate, Gabby Naylor, Student Body Vice President candidate, Richie Hernandez, Student Body President candidate, and John Castellaw, Student Body Vice President candidate

“Space Politics: An Astronaut’s View on Space Exploration”
Thursday, April 14th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
1420, LEEP 2
Guest: Steve Hawley, former NASA astronaut; Director of Engineering Physics and Adjunct Professor in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas

“Health, Wealth, and Pizza: Healthcare Politics in Kansas”
Friday, April, 22nd, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Alderson Auditorium, 4th Floor Kansas Union
Guest: Rep. Susan Concannon, Kansas House of Representatives (107th district)


“Justice After Ferguson: Police & Community Relations”
Wednesday, September 23rd 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Jay Room, 1st Floor Kansas Union
Guest: Tarik Khaib, Chief of Lawrence Police Department

“United Nations: Peace, Progress & Pizza”
Friday, October 23rd, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Centennial Room, 5th Floor Kansas Union
Guest: Sharon Riggle, Chief of Office for the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict

“Everyday Surveillance”
Wednesday, November 11th, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Jayhawk Room, 5th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Dr. William Staples, award-winning researcher and professor in subjects of surveillance, social control, and historical sociology


“Where no pizza has gone before: Indigenous Communities in Latin America”
Tuesday, February 17th 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Jayhawk Room, 5th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Professor Brent Metz, leading expert on Ch’orti’ Maya, and Professor Laura Herlihy, leading expert on Miskitu people and love magic.

“Kansas Values Institute”
Thursday, March 5th 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Centennial Room, 5th Floor Kansas Union
Guest: Ryan Wright, Executive Director of Kansas Values Institute & Kansans for Fair Courts

“How to Make It as a Young Professional”
Friday, April 3rd 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Kansas Room, 6th Floor Kansas Union
Guests: Evan Gates with Kansas Grassroots and Caitlin Doornbos with the LJWorld. Both former Dole Institue student coordinators.

“Standing up for what you believe in: Advocacy for Special Education”
Thursday, April 23rd 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Room TBA, Kansas Union
Guest: Kathy Kersenbrock-Ostmeyer, President of the Tiny-k Alliance Board of Directors and the Director of Special Education and Tiny-k Coordinator for the Northwest Kansas Education Service Center


“The Young Invincibles & The Principles of Healthcare”
with Executive Director of KHCC, Sean Gatewood.
September 23rd, 12:00-1:15pm, Big 12 Room, Kansas Union

Gatewood, executive director of the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition, administers KHCC’s grassroots and outreach operations. Prior to joining KHCC, Sean served two terms in the Kansas House of Representatives. His committee Membership included the committees on taxation, and federal and state affairs. He was also the ranking minority member of the committee on children and families. He is a Council of State Governments BILLD Fellow and a Kansas Leadership Center alumni.

“A Different Kind of Sunflower Showdown”
October 28th, 12:00pm-1:15pm, Parlors Room, Kansas Union

Discussion of student issues with College Republicans, Young Democrats and Young Americans for Liberty.

“How Students Can Trot the Globe”
with Anna Lambertson, Director of International Relations Council
November 20th, 12:00pm-1:15pm, Parlors Room, KS Union

A discussion of international careers and citizenship. Lambertson has more than a decade of experience in not-for-profit governace. Before joining the IRC, Anna was at the helm of a statewide organization where she directed successful fundraising campaigns and implemented regional educational initiatives. She has consulted for, and held board officer positions with state, regional and national organizations. Anna holds a Masters in International Studies from the University of Kansas. She studied at Universite de Franche-Comte in Besancon, France and France Business School, a Grande Ecole in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Anna previously volunteered in Mexico with an international development NGO. She is fluent in French and Spanish.

“How to Politik: from Student to Operative”
December 4th 12pm – 1:15pm, Malott Room, KS Union

A discussion with former Dole Institute student coordinator Beka Romm, and now political consultant with Hickman Public Affairs.


“Hyped up on Party Politics”
with Mike Pettit
February 18th, 5:30-6:30pm, BEST 120 – Edwards Campus

Mike Pettit is a long-term political practitioner in national politics. Mr. Pettit worked for Sen. Bob Dole as his chief of staff in Washington D.C. and after establishing his own consulting firm, worked closely with Sen. Dole during his bids for the presidency. Working his way to the top position in the Bob Dole’s Senate staff from a legislative assistant position, Mr. Pettit has seen the ins and outs of the political system. Since leaving politics he has worked in high-tech start-ups in the private sector. With this unique perspective he will discuss the state of hyper-partisanship and how it is shaping the American political landscape.

“Seeing the Strings”
with KU’s Washington lobbyist, Jack Cline, KU Director of Federal Relations
February 20th, 12:00pm-1:15pm, Parlors ABC, Kansas Union

What’s happening on Capitol Hill? For more than 13 years, Cline has worked in higher education advocacy or as a policy adviser. He currently holds two leadership positions, the first with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, serving as the Chairman of the Council on Governmental Affairs, and the second as a member of the Association of American Universities Council on Federal Relations Steering Committee.

“Stuck in Traffic”
with Vicki Bond
March 11th, 12:00-1:15pm, Parlors ABC, 5th floor Kansas Union

Vicki Bond is a long time business owner and entrepreneur in the healthcare industry based out of Wichita. Recently she has started a new nonprofit organization called “Raise My Head Foundation,” a two-year program for women who have identified a need to transition out of sex work into a healthier, safer profession and lifestyle. This effort is in light of Wichita ranking in the top 10 worst cities in the United States for human trafficking and the fact that sex workers represent an extremely vulnerable group to this crime. Join us for a discussion of human trafficking and some of Mrs. Bond’s insights and experiences with creating her own non-profit to tackle the egregious issue.

“Refugee Status: Somalia to Kenya to KC”
with Abdul Bakar
April 1st, 12:00pm-1:15pm, Parlors ABC, 5th Floor Kansas Union

Abdul Bakar taught himself Swahili when first fleeing to Kenya from political turbulence in Somalia. In a refugee camp, Abdul acquired English and was granted asylum in the United States. After moving to Kansas City, he has worked with the Jewish Vocational Service and now Della Lamb to help settle other refugees in the KC area. After having experienced so much already in the world, Abdul now is attending graduate school He also sits on the board of the United Nations Association of Greater Kansas City. Abdul will discuss the politics of asylum and issues surrounding refugees. He will talk on his involvement with US organizations that assist to refugees.


“Going Global on Health: KU’s Connection to the World Health Organization”
with Steve Fawcett & Ithar Hassaballa
September 17th, 12:00-1:15pm, Centennial Room, Kansas Union

Dr. Steve Fawcett, Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas, and Ithar Hassaballa, Masters of Public Health and PhD Student in Applied Behavioral Science, will present on how we, as students, can contribute to global health. The program will focus on how KU is a part of the global fabric and the interconnectedness from Geneva to New York City to campus.

“Old School, New School, J-School”
with Gerri Hirshey, Rolling Stone Magazine & Ruby Cramer, Buzzfeed
October 31st, 12:00-1:15pm, Centennial Room, Kansas Union

Hirshey and Cramer will join students over a slice of pizza at a program playing off their distinct experiences in the journalistic field. Pizza & Politics will delve into “old-school” vs. “new-school” journalism and how the profession transformed in recent decades while particularly taking note of what distinguishes contemporary media from the past, but also what practices have continued to remain relevant today.

“From Oz to Aussie and Back: Political Lessons with Professor Burdett Loomis”
November 7th, 12:00-1:15pm, Centennial Room, Kansas Union

In his most recent travels, Professor Loomis studied the lobbying industry in Australia, its scope, and its influence over agendas and policy. Now he has returned to KU campus to share what he has learned during his time abroad about US politics and how democracies operate. Professor Loomis also has lectured widely for the U.S. State Department in Asia and South America, most recently in Indonesia in 2012.

“In the Eye of the Beholder”
with Christian Williams, Utne Reader
November 21st, 12:00-1:15pm, Centennial Room, Kansas Union

Christian Williams, editor-in-chief of UTNE Reader, argues we ought to become better at encouraging and praising the simple act of expressing oneself creatively. The problem is, our culture has conditioned people who want to be creative to believe that unless they have the proper training, their art isn’t valid. There’s so much weight put on the end result of creative expression that the fear of failure or ridicule keep people from even trying. Why do amateurs even try painting? Is your art worthy of collecting or displaying in a gallery? How do you stack up against the professionals? These are interesting questions. But maybe the answers don’t matter.


“The Campaign Game”
with Mark Sump
February 12th, 12:00-1:15pm, English Room, 6th Floor Kansas Union

Share opinions and a slice of FREE PIZZA with Mark Sump, CEO of Activate, a political consulting firm known for improving communication technologies for grassroots participation in campaigns.

“Meet the Candidates”
with KU Student Senate hopefuls
March 27th, 12:00pm-1:15pm, Alderson Room, Kansas Union

Join Student Senate Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates for a slice of FREE PIZZA and join in as they discuss the people behind the politics, themselves! All candidates in compliance with Student Senate Rules and Regulations will be present at this meet-and-greet styled event. Come chat with next year’s student body presidential hopefuls!

“A Race Hard Won”
with Senator Laura Kelly
April 9, 12 – 1:15pm, Big 12 Room, 5th Floor Kansas Union

In the fall of 2012, Sen. Laura Kelly won a close race for her reelection to the Kansas State Senate. On April 9, Sen. Kelly will take a break from her duties at the Statehouse to share FREE PIZZA and her campaigning experiences with KU students.

“Lawrence’s Letterman”
with Mike Anderson of The Not So Late Show
April 24, at 4pm

Ever dreamt of hosting your own talk show? Mike Anderson scored that gig on Channel 6’s The Not So Late Show. Come eat FREE PIZZA with Lawrence’s own “David Letterman” and talk show business, working in the media and community leadership.


“Beyond Coal Campaign for KS, NE, MO”
with Scott Allegrucci, Senior Campaign Representative
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

“Election 2012: KU Student Debate”
with Republican, Democratic and Libertarian students participated in a debate moderated by Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy.
Thursday, October 25, 2012

“Peace Corp Malawi Experience”
with Chelsea Mertz, KU & Dole Institute SAB alum
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

“Iranian Nuclear Program”
with Dr. Alice Butler-Smith
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Discussion: the Iranian nuclear program and its affects on Israel.. and the world. Dr. Butler-Smith is an expert in military studies and the Middle East.


“From Mount Oread to The Hill: KU Journalist in Washington”
with Ramsey Cox
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

 P&P with Steven Jacques
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jacques has worked in advance for the last eight Democratic presidential campaigns and was Senior National Lead Advance for Obama’s presidential campaign.

“The 2012 Election with Political Insiders”
with Bill Lacy & Steven Jacques
Wednesday, March 14, 2012- KU Edwards Campus

“Slimming Down in the 21st Century: America’s New Defense Strategy”
Guest: Kevin Benson,  Colonel, US Army (retired)
Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Col. Benson discussed President Obama’s recently released defense strategy and the changing role of the US Military in the 21st Century.

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